Companies Fly to Unload Private Planes

Putting jets on block may be more about image than money
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2009 3:01 PM CST
The Gulfstream Aircraft Corporation G650 business jet is among executives' favorite perks.   (Business Wire)
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(Newser) – The business-jet industry couldn’t have asked for worse PR than members of Congress ripping auto executives for traveling by company plane to beg for taxpayer money. By the time the Big Three execs returned—by hybrid car—to Washington, the corporate jet was a symbol of bloated corporate excess, seen by the public as evil, “right up there with Saddam Hussein,” an industry consultant tells the Economist.

The number of used jets on offer rose 62% in November as chastened firms like General Motors, Ford, and Citigroup rushed to sell their planes. Or have they? Asking price for jets rose 3.4% in the same period, suggesting the firms are charging prices higher than they know anyone will pay in order to appear frugal—but keep flying.